Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Salem Museum holds special 30th anniversary exhibit

The Salem Museum is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a new, free feature exhibit that takes a look back at artifacts and stories now preserved in the museum’s collections. Some favorite — but rarely seen — objects appear in this eclectic display, including:

  • a trans-oceanic short-wave radio and other examples of early technology
  • military equipment from conflicts dating back to the French and Indian War
  • paintings of the museum’s historic home, plus photography and sculpture
  • plus, an explanation for the museum’s sizable collection of dirt.

For those who are curious about museum operations, the exhibit also explains some of the behind-the-scenes procedures that go into curating, preserving, storing and displaying objects, and how information about them is recorded and is able to be searched.

“Cheers for 30 Years” includes touchable objects and activities. Admission is free.

The exhibit is underwritten by the William and Margaret Robertson Endowment Fund and was designed by Alex Burke, the museum’s assistant director. The exhibit will be on display through the fall. The Salem Museum is located in the historic 1845 Williams-Brown House at 801 E. Main St. in Salem and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Museum admission is free. The museum has ample, free parking. 540-389-6760.

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Mobile workstation at Lynchburg library. Courtesy of Liberty University.

Liberty’s $20,000 donation enables mobile workstations at Lynchburg library

Lynchburg Public Library recently installed two mobile workstations, meeting a need for quiet study spaces where people of all ages can read and study either independently or with a small group. The workstations, called NeoDens, were made possible by a $20,000 donation from Liberty University.

“The Lynchburg Public Library is extremely thankful for this generous gift and continued support from Liberty University,” library Director Beverly Blair said in a statement. “The mobile study units will help the library provide flexible, collaborative spaces that will benefit many patrons’ needs, from students in need of a quiet study space to job seekers meeting to prepare for a job interview.”

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Scholarship fund at Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia makes awards

The Jim Barker Scholarship Fund benefiting students who have been club members at Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia has awarded a $10,000 scholarship to 12-year club member and Salem High School graduating senior Lawrence Anthony Moore. He will be attending James Madison University in the fall.

Former club member Hunter Muddiman, a graduating senior from William Byrd High School, has received $3,800. He will be attending Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall, and credits his experience at Boys & Girls Clubs of SWVA for fostering his love of art at a young age, according to a release from the club.

The fund is named after Board Member Jim Barker, CFO at Delta Dental of Virginia, who grew up as a “Club Kid” in Bristol. The fundraising committee has raised more than $215,000 in less than two years, with a goal to raise $1 million in 10 years to support youth in the region with almost $40,000 per year in scholarships.

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VCEDA awards grant to Big Stone Gap restaurant

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has awarded a $10,000 seed capital grant to Huff Daddy BBQ in Big Stone Gap.

Huff Daddy logo. Courtesy of VCEDA.

The business is owned by Larrry Huff.  It projects four full-time jobs and seven part-time jobs within five years, according to Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel.

The VCEDA grant has been a lifesaver for Huff Daddy BBQ,” Huff said in a statement. “It’s helped us with the financial resources we needed to stay alive in the first year of business which is so tough. I am very thankful.”

Huff worked with the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College in developing his application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Wise County Industrial Development Authority.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise counties and the city of Norton.

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Mike Leigh accepting the award. Courtesy of OpX Solutions.

Roanoke County company wins state honor

OpX Solutions, an advisory and coaching company from Roanoke County, has been named a 2022 SWaMmy Community Impactful Business Honoree from the Virginia Department  of Small Business and Supplier Diversity. 

OpX Solutions was recognized for providing free webinars during the COVID-19  lockdown to help teams adjust to the sudden remote work environment, and for working  with two manufacturers to increase output and reduce their backlog of PPE and a  COVID-killing device for HVAC systems.  

Recipients of the 2022 SWaMmy Community Impactful Business Honor were selected  from over 180 applicants in demonstration of their support of their communities during  the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic.